The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has once again voiced his support for gay marriage.
Speaking at the International Lesbian and Gay Association of Europe's conference in Dublin this afternoon, Eamon Gilmore said same-sex marriage is not a gay rights issue but a civil rights issue.
He said the issue would be considered by the Constitutional Convention.
His comments come after a
Director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network Tiernan Brady said it was likely we would need a referendum in order to introduce same-sex marriage in Ireland.
"The current thinking politically and the thinking by many Attorney Generals over the past number of years has been that the issue (of same-sex marriage) would require a referendum and couldn't solely be done legislatively," he said.
"The Constitutional Convention will examine that and move it forward, hopefully, to a referendum as quickly as possible."
Eamon Gilmore said attitudes in the country were almost unrecognisable to those that prevailed a generation ago but insisted more progress was needed.
“That ILGA Europe should choose our capital city, Dublin, for this conference is a source of pride for us,” he said.
“This city, and this Republic, have been on their own remarkable journey in relation to the rights of LGBTI persons.
“There is a generation of young Irish people, for whom the Ireland of 20 or 30 years ago would be almost unrecognisable.
“Thousands of young LGBTI persons, who in the past would have felt the need to live elsewhere, have opted to stay in Ireland.
“And by doing so, they have enriched the country and made it a more tolerant place. Many in public life have emerged as role models for young LGBTI people and, in recent years, civil partnership ceremonies have been occasions of great celebration around the country.
“That journey is still incomplete. As I have stated elsewhere, the right of same-sex couples to marry is not a gay rights issue, it is a civil rights issue, and one that I support.
“The question of same-sex marriage is one that will be considered by our forthcoming Constitutional Convention. This is an innovation in Irish democracy, where citizens and public representatives will come together to consider what changes might be made to our Constitution, so that it better reflects not just the society we are now, but the society we aspire to.”
The conference was attended by delegates from 42 countries across Europe who work for LGBTI rights.
Yesterday members of Ireland’s transgender community held a rally in Dublin to demand greater recognition in law.
They were joined at the gates of Leinster House by supporters from elsewhere in Europe at the protest calling for new legislation to have their changed gender acknowledged legally.
Organisers claim transgender people in Ireland and elsewhere in the world are treated as if they have a mental disorder.
They said the time had come for the introduction of “inclusive and respectful” gender recognition legislation and criticised progress made by the current Irish government on the issue.